Garden Report: March 26

No, the gardeners have not yet been able to start on our garden. The sudden appearance of winter rains makes scheduling gardening complicated, and the expected arrival date is the end of the week. I'm still trying to get a load of wood chips.

In the meantime, I had to be on a site visit in San Leandro this afternoon, so I got to be home well before the sun set. Right at dusk is my favourite time in the garden. Lots of the flowers close up tight for the night, and I just find that fascinating to watch.

White daffodils in the swath

By the time I took this photo of the white daffodils in the swath, the oxalis blooms had shut down business for the evening. Oxalis are a plant I both love and hate: they're invasive and obnoxious, but they are also sometimes kind of pretty. When my cat Mikey died, they were the only flower in bloom in the yard (we'd just moved in), and I threw handfuls of them on his grave.

White flowers in the swath

I'm in a similar place with this white flowers. They were here, though in the past our neighbor used to mow them down. Now I let them grow and they come up everywhere. OK, and I spread them out recently with all the digging around the retaining wall. They're pretty, but kind of bland. I hadn't intended to make the swath an all-white garden, and I find it pretty but kind of one-dimensional. I'm taking reference photos to plan next year's bulb planting now, when I can see what I want and where.

Giant poppy-monsters

By the way, the giant poppy-monsters have still not popped into bloom. But they look more and more menacing every day. These ones are three feet tall, leaning on the crabapple.

Flowering quince

The contorted flowering quince -- a favourite of mine although I still can't quite figure out how to prune it properly -- has been going strong since December. I'm not sure I've ever seen any plant like this have such a sustained bloom. I always look at it and think I should cut some branches to bring inside as a flower arrangement, but can't quite bring myself to do it. I tend to prefer my flowers on the plants.

Apricot blossom

This is the start of the apricot blossoms. There are buds all over it, just waiting to burst into bloom. Maybe we'll even get an apricot this year.

Blue orchard bee

It's not all life in the garden. This is one of the blue orchard bees, caught in a spider web. The spider is just on the other side, doing a spider thing. It was a spectacularly bad time for the bees to hatch out: right into a week of rain. I'm hoping some of the others survive and lay some eggs for next year. I don't mind buying more tubes, but I'd rather be creating a sustaining community than just dumping bees into the garden every year.

(Of course, I'm about to dump 20,000 bees into the garden, so this is not just about pollination.)


Speaking of pollination, sometimes the source of the name for rude hand gestures ("figa") is pretty obvious. That's three little baby figs. With some better management and actual feeding this year, I hope for a harvest.

Bill Wallis in the dusk

And this is one of those moments that makes the garden at dusk magic. The light turns blue and purple, and suddenly the Bill Wallis geranium is just glowing.

posted by ayse on 03/26/12